Archbishop tells UN: You have to fix refugee crisis

The Archbishop of Central Africa, Albert Chama, has called for migrants and refugees to be seen as "treasured human beings".ACNS

Refugees and migrants are "treasured human beings made in the image of God" who deserve "safety, freedom and the opportunity to flourish", according to the Archbishop of Central Africa.

Most Rev Albert Chama wrote to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the request of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Ban is hosting the Global Summit Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants this week at the UN General Assembly in New York.

Reflecting on the global reaction to the crisis, Chama called for a "much more intentional and robust collective response in which the churches and other faith communities are more than ready to take their place".

He said refugees and migrants "deserve safety, freedom and the opportunity to flourish. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people on the move, but we know that each of them is not only another number in a huge statistic but also an individual who brings a unique story of displacement, a unique potential to flourish and a unique ability to contribute to the common good."

In a sharp criticism of some European governments, Chama said that "there are still governments around the world that are reluctant to accord such people any national legal protection or to recognise their status".

"This only serves to exacerbate their situation, placing them at the mercy of human traffickers, smugglers and others who would exploit their predicament for profit," he said, adding that Anglican churches "aim to contribute where possible to a durable solution that is based on appreciation of the dignity of the individual and respect for human rights".

Chama said: "In today's world hospitality, reconciliation and love are our most formidable weapons against hatred and extremism."